Grandma Grello’s Mashed Potato Bake

21 Mar

My memories of our summer days at the beach are very special to me.

As a kid, I spent at least half of each of my entire summers with Grandma and Grandpa Grello down by the beach near their house. We often slept there for a couple of weeks at a time while my parents worked. I have great memories of all the times we spent with them, the things we got to do, and of course, all the great things we got to eat while at their house. They made the best french toast, the best omelettes, the best pizza, the best everything.

As an adult with my own kids, I have made sure to take advantage of the fact that until recently we still had both of them in our lives and even now, we have her in our life still. I know how lucky we are, how lucky my kids are, and I do my very best to cherish this time with her, hoping to make similar memories for my kids to cherish too.

I tell you this not because I’m going off on a tangent, but because today’s recipe is another one of her recipes and it’s one that she made for our family a couple of summers ago after a day at the beach. Very often we would to take our kids to the beach, spend a good part of the day there, and then come back to her house to shower and change up for dinner.

In the time we’d spend at the beach, and entire dinner would be prepared for us, including appetizers, which was usually their famous homemade pizza and spinach pies.  Oftentimes there was a homemade blueberry pie sitting on the counter cooling as well, and ice cream in the freezer to go with it. (Hungry yet?) We’d eat our dinner, and then sit out on their deck for hours, having coffee and dessert out there while the kids played in the yard while the sun set, chasing rabbits (there were always so many rabbits in their yard, it seemed.) It was idyllic, to say the least.

I think of Grandma Grello and our days at the beach near her house, every time I make this.

One particular visit, she served us a whole roasted chicken with this amazing Mashed Potato Bake on the side. It wasn’t anything complex, but it was so delicious I couldn’t believe we’d never had it before. Now, every time we make it ourselves, I think of her and those times we spent at their house.

As you know, she’s famous for her homemade French Meat Pies, and since she gives us one for our freezer every year, I usually will make this Mashed Potato Bake as the side dish to go with it. This year Don made the mashed potato bake to go with the meat pie and it was as delicious as ever.

I don’t have a specific recipe for you, but it’s really super easy:

1) You make a basic recipe of mashed potatoes using as many potoates as you normally would, but when you are mashing them, add in about a half block of shredded cheddar cheese (more for a big batch, less for a smaller batch.)

2) Spread the mashed potatoes into a casserole dish and top with more cheddar cheese, bread crumbs and bacon bits.

3) Bake until crispy and brown around the edges.

Super easy, super delicious and for me, full of happy memories.

Gram Grello's Mashed Potato Bake with her French Meat Pie: the perfect combination of tastes and memories! Enjoy!

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